Mandy focuses on helping others achieve their goals

Helping pupils and teachers achieve their goals: Jim Sheehy and Mandy McDermott.
Helping pupils and teachers achieve their goals: Jim Sheehy and Mandy McDermott.

A NEWTOWNABBEY woman has launched Northern Ireland’s first independent consultancy offering counselling and personal wellbeing programmes within primary and post-primary schools.

AchieveNI designs and delivers programmes aimed at promoting personal, relational and organisational wellbeing; listening to the needs of management, staff, students and parents in a bid to address those needs in a manner which is customised to their ethos, culture and locality.

The woman behind AchieveNI, Mandy McDermott from Jordanstown, has a background in counselling and has worked in a variety of inner-city agencies and school settings. In 2006, she was honoured at 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister as the national, overall recipient of the ‘Britain’s Children’s Champion Award’.

Her business partner, Jim Sheehy, has taught and lectured in Belfast and Dublin and is currently providing counselling services in the Belfast area. He previously worked in Boston and San Francisco where he researched adult and youth development schemes.

Mandy and Jim aim to promote a range of key objectives in local schools, including better self-care for teachers, anti-bullying and anger-management strategies and raising the morale of staff through AchieveNI’s self-care programme.

“We set up AchieveNI because of our desire to provide dynamic, purposeful programmes to schools based on personal care, relational skills and organisational health,” Mandy explained. “Our work in counselling adult and youth clients has led us to believe that there is an urgent need to address the range of personal and social pressures on teachers and students within their day-to-day environment.”

AchieveNI offers training programmes and counselling services to help schools deal with a variety of important issues, including suicide awareness, cyber-bullying, alcohol and drugs, peer pressure and diversity and difference.

For more information about the services provided by AchieveNI log on to or email